4 powerful exercises for great breath control

In in my recent blog series, The Fine Art Of Proper Breathing, I explained the four stages of breathing and how they can affect your singing. Just to refresh your memory the stages are: inhalation, suspension, exhalation and resting period. We came to the conclusion that this process is something that needs to be purposely done until it becomes natural to the singer. There are several exercises that can help you in reaching this goal.

I would like to share with you some of the exercises that I use to help me personally with breath control. The whole concept of breath control is a mental and physical thing and involves the entire body.

The first nugget I want to share before we get into some exercises is that breathing affects your tone therefore you have to breathe deeply by utilizing your diaphragm. Now with that in mind, let’s get into some breathing exercises!

Exercise 1.

Allow the air to fill your lungs, place a finger over your mouth and simply say “shhh”. Once you have used all of your air then just relax and allow the breath to come in automatically. This should be done at least five times in a set. This exercise activates the correct muscles that control the amount of air you release and how you release it.

Exercise 2.

(You’ll need a straw for this one)

This exercise helps you learn to control the amount of air that you release when you sing. We talked about having an open throat when you sing. You also need to have that open throat when you inhale air. So for this exercise I want you to inhale with an open throat, letting the air fill the lungs. Then blow the air out through a straw. Repeat this process at least three or four times.

Exercise 3.

This exercise is called slow breathing. To do it, inhale slowly and mentally count to 20. Then exhale slowly until you have reached 20 again. This exercise is also designed to train your muscles to control the amount of air that is released while singing.

Exercise 4.

The last exercise that I want to share is a simple one. You just breathe in for 4 counts, allowing the air to completely fill your lungs. Then you let the air out on a “SSSS” like a snake. Repeat this, alternating between doing it as softly and loudly as possible.


These exercises are not done with any tone production and are designed to help train the muscles that we use to breathe while singing. This process of breathing again is something we do naturally everyday. But when it comes to singing correctly we have to think differently about breathing. The process involves the entire body it also forces you to think when you are singing. If you want to have better breath control then do these exercises everyday. Make it your business to breathe correctly on purpose every time you open your mouth to sing.

Shena Crane is a Classically trained professional vocal coach. She graduated from University Of Texas At Arlington. Shena holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education as well as an Associates Degree in Music/Performance. Book Shena for private vocal training through The Music Ministry Coach.com .

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5 Responses to 4 powerful exercises for great breath control

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for the pointers! Very simple and easy to understand. By giving examples for someone to practice makes it easier for them to understand what you mean by “breath control”.

  2. alyce says:

    Breath control also applies to those of us who speak across the pulpit as well. I might get several sentences pushed up against each other orally, and get it done! But that would never happen with a written word or Word. If there is any congregation feedback ‘during’…then it is so important to be conscious of breath control! Or else you can find yourself stepping all over yourself and the congregation. The point is to be engaged with the ‘hearers!’ And they’re responding? That’s evidence that we’re all in it together! God smiles!

  3. izeak says:

    Good job

  4. alyce says:

    Love these! So well explained. It’s always the basic foundational information that all else rests upon that determines ‘quality.’ And as you know, my comments are coming from the pew! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Pingback: Should I breathe through my nose or through my mouth? - The Music Ministry Coach.com

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